Published by Random House Publishing on 26 February 2013
Genres: Historical Romance
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Julia is the youngest of four sisters, and because of a misunderstanding when she was very young, she believes she has been compromised. Her father doesn't want her to make her debut in society until all of her sisters are safely married off, to make sure nothing Julia does will make a scandal that might make her sisters unsuited for marriage as well.
*I received a free ARC of this book from Random House Publishing via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
A Most Scandalous Proposal is a debut novel, and it is quite well done! I loved that Julia is a strong woman, even while dealing with the ton and everything that women have to be careful about while navigating society. Sophia starts out like the typical woman in a historical romance novel, always trying to follow the rules, while being in love with the ton’s golden boy, and not knowing what to do about it – because in order to be a proper young lady, there really isn’t much she can do, now, is there? Julia has decided that love is just not worth it, especially after having watched her parents’ marriage, which she thinks is devoid of love, and even more so because she’s seen how upset Sophia has been because she’s pining after the wrong man.
Things are spiced up a little quite soon in the story, Julia’s childhood friend is back from the cavalry, and he decideds she needs to be rescued, from no other than the aforementioned golden boy. There are some funny intrigues, but the way Sophia gets played by Clivesden was pretty bad, and it got worse because Julia and Sophia’s parents seem so clueless about what their daughters want in life – which is typically not what their mother want. I had a little trouble getting the parents, after letting their daughters a choice in their future for several seasons, suddenly, they want to ‘force’ both of them to marry very quickly. This felt a little too much plot-driven than story or character driven in my opinion.
Their mother is very superficial for most of the book, and even if I can understand that this could happen in these times, I really didn’t like it! I also didn’t like that Sophia was always either feeling elated because Clivesden paid her a little attention, or she was crying because he paid attention to someone else instead. The way she behaved was like a very young, lovesick woman, not like a lady who had already survived several seasons – and sent quite a few suitors on their merry way without her.
As the story unfolds, there are some unexpected twists that I appreciated, and the writing is good! The plot kept me wanting to know more, even if I found Sophia to be a little childish and unappreciative of her sister Julia. Of course, since this is a historical romance, there are some of the well-known tropes of this genre present, but they were well executed and did not feel forced at all.
Julia tamped down the urge to sigh. Her sister was ever constructing castles in the air, the larges a monument to William Ludlowe that rivaled Windsor in size.
Sophia had a point. Such an arrangement hadn’t made mama happy, but then neither had Sophia’s infatuation with Ludlowe made her happy.
“Ah, sarcasm. The final refuge of the desperate. I see you’re not bothering with denials. That’s always a step in the right direction.”
God help him if her fears overcame her, and she asked him to stop. He would keep his owrd to her, but it might well kill him.
Julia is strong, witty and very intelligent. At the same time, she has a lot of trouble to be in touch with her own feelings, because she thinks she has to protect her heart from any bad things that could happen to her or a loved one. When she decides that it is OK to share important things with other people, it shows a softer side to her, one that makes her even more likeable in my opinion. Sophia also grows, and at the same time, she grows on me. She stops lamenting about things she cannot have, and she realizes that things really aren’t any easier for Julia than they are for her.
The end was a little bit rushed in my opinion, it would have been nice to have the final chapter last a little bit longer, and maybe an epilogue to keep me happy for longer 🙂 I will definitely be on the lookout for this author in the future, historical romance novels are among my favorites, and as I said in the beginning, A Most Scandalous Proposal was a good debut.